Waldorf Astor (1879-1952)

Major The Rt. Hon. Waldorf Astor M.P., D.L., 2nd Viscount Astor

Associated Houses

Cliveden House


Born in New York, his father famously fell out with the other side of the Astor family and moved this branch to England. Waldorf was educated at Eton and New College, Oxford. He was encouraged by his wife to enter politics and was elected to Plymouth Sutton from 1910 until he succeeded to his father's title and was forced (unwillingly) to enter the House of Lords. On the outbreak of War in Europe (1914) he immediately enlisted but was not sent to the front line on account of his heart condition. In 1915, he purchased The Observer newspaper (his brother, John, was the owner and Chairman of The Times) and when his friend Lloyd-George became Prime Minister, Astor became his Parliamentary Private Secretary. He was deeply involved in many charitable causes and served as Governor of the Peabody Trust and Guy's Hospital among other similar positions. He was elected Lord Mayor of Plymouth while his wife, Nancy, was its Member of Parliament, she having famously won his seat in 1919 to become the first woman to sit in the House of Commons. They were the parents of five children.
Contributed by Mark Meredith on 13/02/2019 and last updated on 01/04/2020.
Image Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, London, NPG x31170